Chapter 73 A Rank Promotion Exam Part 7





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TL: Yuki

 

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◆ Hotel Maison Corridor, Avangard Castle Town

 

「 When you’re my girl, you won’t be lacking in any way. You won’t have to earn a penny as an adventurer like this, and you’ll be able to do it like I do, on the road. 」

 

I still don’t know what he’s talking about, but I don’t like this guy who says he feels like a hobbyist when there are even people who would risk their lives to do it. A lot of people died in today’s test. I’m sure they all had their own goals and hopes for getting an A grade. I don’t know what he’s asking me to do, but the answer to that question is already out there.

 

「 No! 」

 

That was all I said, and I put my hand on the doorknob. With that, I put my hand on the doorknob and Formas slammed his fist into the wall, causing a dull thud to spread through the hallway. Suspicious people opened the door of the room and looked around. Formas’ serpentine eyes had changed to the look of a wild animal eyeing its prey. He looks just like he did when we passed the third test. He clenched his teeth, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he actually bites me like this.

 

「 What do you mean you won’t be mine? Just because some poor kid won a little vomit-filled fighting tournament doesn’t mean you can’t have it your way.What’s wrong with that tournament? 

 

When you get to A Rank, you’ll have an easier time catching women.  Formas-sama, the boss of the Mataire trading company, went along with that shitty test. I’m not going to listen to my father’s pressure to get me to A Rank. I thought about shutting down the adventurer’s guild, but I decided not to do that either. I’ll crush them myself. 

 

Do you want to hear what happened to the guy who defied me? The last time some idiot tried to kick my ass without my knowledge, he lost his job, got into debt, and ran away at night. The place he was working for was a subsidiary of a Mataire trading company. Well, even if he’s gone, I’m sure I’ll find him and have him write a suicide note. 」

 

「 Formas, are you done yet? 」

 

「 Oops, the night is about to start. I’ll see you later. 」

 

Formas’ mood suddenly improved when Brinca called him, and he turned away when he saw Brinca beckoning to him from the far end of the hallway, half-naked and covered with a sheet or something. She was out of her mind, walking around like that. I wondered if she had just gotten out of the bath, but even so, wouldn’t she normally be wearing clothes?

 

There are so many things happening lately that I don’t understand, and it’s confusing. I should have gotten over this confusion a long time ago. But that Formas is so different, no matter how much I try to understand it.

 

「 Huh…I’m running into a lot of that stuff lately, Roel. 」

 

「 But those guys are really good… I mean, I’m a terrible player, but he killed a floor monster in Strange Plains with that gun, even though he was level 5. I couldn’t do anything, but… after that, I got beaten up a lot for being useless… 」

 

I got beaten up a lot. He beat Roel a lot. I’m going to beat him a lot. Roel’s lack of confidence and panic when we first met might have been his fault, too. That’s how he refuses to admit failure and is relentlessly violent.

 

I wonder if there is anyone who never fails. I’ve been hurt and almost died many times in the Abyss Cave. It was frustrating and painful, but I am the person I am today because I lost there. I am not afraid of failure to progress, and Formas, he is the type of person I can’t forgive. Now try to do something to Roel. This time I’m going to twist your arm. No, that’s not enough. Not just the arm, the leg too.

 

「 Ryua-chan…Ryua-chan? 」

 

「 Huh? 」

 

「 What’s wrong with you, you look scary and silent… can we go in the room? 」

 

「 Uh, yeah. Let’s go rest. 」

 

Even if it was only for a moment, what a horrible thought I had. No matter how much Formas was my opponent, I couldn’t go that far. Tomorrow’s final exam was more important than that guy. That’s all I can think about right now.

 

◆ Avangard Castle Town Adventurer’s Guild ◆

 

It was early in the morning and we were gathered in the guild. The guild was sparsely populated, and even at this hour, some people were staring at the request forms. I was the only one who yawned loudly. The others looked nervous as they faced the Mugen in front of them.

 

「 Now, you are going to take your final exam. 」

 

Mugen stroked his round head as he looked us over from one end to the other.

 

「 Every year, the final exam is actually a request that is assigned to an A rank.

 

And it’s a fresh request that just came in this morning. There are variations from year to year, but all of them are at the bottom of the list for A-rank assignments. But this one might be a little trickier. 」

 

Before he could give us a full explanation, Mugen brushed past us and started walking toward the exit. We passed through the city, where there were still few people, and what was waiting for us outside was a gigantic carriage of Gigahorses. I wondered where they were going to take me this time.

 

◆ Inside the Gigahorse Carriage ◆

 

「 I will explain the contents of the final test. First, our destination is a ruined fort in the east.

 

The  Comet Wolf Brigade is holed up there… 」

 

「 Wha, What?! 」

 

Someone shouted in surprise, almost to the point of exaggeration. Everyone but us reacted to the unfamiliar name of the brigade. No way, that’s ridiculous.I don’t know if they’re worthy of being mentioned in the same breath. The Comet Wolf Brigade was holed up in the fort. I see, so the next test is to defeat them.

 

「 That Comet Wolf Brigade, huh? Well, I’ve got this one. That’s pretty lukewarm for a final exam. 」

 

Formas kissed the gun and spun it around, hooking it around his thumb in a gesture of pride.

 

「 Listen to the end of the story. Here’s the problem. They’re holed up in the fort with hostages.They’re holding nearly a hundred peddlers, adventurers, and others, roughly speaking. 」

 The Comet Wolf Brigade was holed up in the fort. I see, so the next test is to defeat them.

 

「 That Comet Wolf Brigade, huh? Well, I’ve got this one. That’s pretty lukewarm for a final exam. 」

 

Formas kissed the gun and spun it around, hooking it around his thumb in a gesture of pride.

 

「 Listen to the end of the story. Here’s the problem. They’re holed up in the fort with hostages. They’re holding nearly a hundred peddlers, adventurers, and others, roughly speaking. 」

 

「 So, what do they want? This will be more than a test, and depending on the situation, we may have to mobilize the Royal Knights. 」

 

「 Wait, Mister Gilbert. We don’t want to provoke them in any way. This carriage is also conspicuous, so I won’t go to the fort and walk through the mountain forest on the way. 」

 

「 Oh, um…I don’t know what a brigade is, but… 」

 

Formas erupted in a puff of air. He didn’t say it, but I knew what he meant. The other two giggled and put their hands over their mouths. I don’t know if I’ve said anything to make them think I’m that stupid. Those guys are really annoying.

 

But then Balm, Gilbert and everyone else rolls their eyes. I’m suddenly feeling uncomfortable; I wonder if Roel knows about this.

 

「 I thought even the kids in the castle town knew that they destroyed the Kingdom of Amur a few years ago… some of them even start shaking and crying at the mere mention of the name. 」

 

「 Hey, is it really just the brigade? Rumor has it that other nations were involved in the Bag. 」

 

「 I heard that on the Asgard continent, they once took over an entire town and held all the residents’ hostage. 」

 

「 I’ve heard that the women and children were humiliated and all of them were cruelly killed, despite the efforts of the strike force organized by the Vernia territory, which is famous for its Flame Fighters… 」

 

「 It’s the world’s largest known bandit group, and even if the entire country were to use all of their strength, they would have been beaten back if they were not careful. You really didn’t know that? 」

 

Balm kindly summed it up for me amidst the outrageous stories flying around. When I think of a bandit group, I can only imagine something like the one I met in the middle of the Kiesel Valley, so I can’t really feel it. I couldn’t believe that such a group had destroyed a country.

 

「 You don’t have to worry about Ryua-chan… after all, she’s defeated the Demon King’s army many times. 」

 

「 But you said there are hostages, right? That means… 」

 

「 Here’s the thing. You guys are to rescue the hostages and destroy the brigade. I’ll leave it to you to secure the entry route and so on. 」

 

「 Is that all? I can’t help but wonder if you’ve made this a test when every second counts, but more importantly, are you just going to sit here and watch with your fingers crossed while the Five Rankers are around? 」

 

「 The leader of the group is a pain in the ass, but anyone who stumbles over something like this doesn’t belong in the A-Ranks, Gilbert. 」

 

「 What about the hostages? If we fail, we’ll have left them to die even if you were there! 」

 

「 If you’re not sure about this, you are free to withdraw. 」

 

Gilbert protested passionately, but Mugen just replied calmly. I agree with Gilbert

 

「 If you’re not sure, you can withdraw. 」

 

Gilbert protested passionately, but Mugen only replied calmly. I have the same opinion as Gilbert.  It’s crazy to make an exam out of something like that. I wonder if Mugen is really just going to sit back and watch.

 

「 Oops, I forgot to mention. The leader of the group, Grave, has destroyed an A-ranked adventurer party in the past. You’ll have to be careful. 」

 

We all just had to nod our heads in silence as he added another difficult task to the list.

 

◆ In front of the Ruined Fort ◆

 

The carriage was parked at a distance from the fort. The carriage was parked away from the fort, and we had to walk for over an hour to get there. I heard that there were only a few of them left in the area because they thought that if they brought out a Gigahorse, they would be called in for backup and the hostages would be killed.

 

The fort was surrounded by a forest, and the moss growing on the stone walls made me think that no one had used it for a long time. It was a flat building, about three stories high, surrounded by walls that had collapsed in places. The path leading to the fort beyond the walls was overgrown with grass and trees, making it difficult to walk without trimming.

 

When the 20 of us and Mugen arrived at the site, there were dozens of soldiers lined up.

 

「 Oh, Mugen-san! Are you the one…? 」

 

「 Thank you for your efforts, Platoon Leader Orin. From now on, these men will be on duty. 」

 

「 But… 」

 

「 His Majesty has made his decision. 」

 

「 Eh…? Roel, did he just say it was the king’s decision? 」

 

「 Well, maybe he gave his permission… either way, this is a disaster. 」

 

I can’t help but speak up, I can’t believe the king just approved it.

 

「 So, what does the other party want? 」

 

「 He wants us to give up His Majesty and the heads of the countries that follow him… For now, we’re buying time by pretending that we’ve accepted his demands, but we only have an hour left. If we wait too long, the hostages will be killed… 」

 

I felt sorry for Orin as he replied with a blue face. I wondered if there were only this many people in this situation. Is he really going to leave it to just us?

 

「 Oh, and they want us to take the leader alive… 」

 

「 What, is that another order from His Majesty? 」

 

「 No, sir, it’s Belmund-sama. 」

 

「 Belmund-sama? I don’t know what he wants… You’ve heard what I’ve said, haven’t you? We don’t have much time. We must act immediately. 」

 

There was no way anyone could move. The hostages would be killed if they didn’t move, and the pressure would be enormous. And they didn’t know how many of them there would be. In this situation, I’m running through my mind, trying to figure out where to attack. Where should I enter to rescue the hostages without being spotted by my opponent?

 

「 Heck, you cowards, just stay there and shut up, Brinca, Tataka. Let’s go! 」

 

While I was thinking about it, Formas started walking without hesitation. We skirted the main gate of the fort and made our way around the wall. I wonder what he’s up to. I wonder if he has a good plan.

 

「 Roel, we should go too. 」

 

「 Uh, yeah…I’m worried about them. 」

 

「 What? You still think about that guy? 」

 

「 No, no, no, You see, when we were in a Party together, we killed a guy who was being attacked by a demon because he was in the way of the fight. He said that everyone would be satisfied if he was killed by a demon…. I’m sure he’d kill hostages too if we leave them be 」

 

Formas, he shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it. I can stop him, even if he uses a weapon like a gun. I can stop him even if he uses a weapon like a gun, but from what I just said, killing the hostages would be a disqualification. But still, he will definitely do it, because Roel, who has been working with him for a while, says so.

 

「 There’s been some strange rumors about their leader, Grubb. They say that after he went on a rampage, there was a pile of bodies crushed by something. If he’s a custom magic user, I’d be willing to bet that his abilities are as good as or better than the top A Rank. 」

 

Those words became the deciding factor, and a number of people withdrew. Originally, they were the ones who couldn’t move from the spot, so I think they were planning to do so secretly. As soon as one person started to decline, they all flocked to Mugen. I felt a little sorry for Mugen, who was pushed back while patting his head, urging them to wait.

 

Anyway, what is custom magic? I was curious, but I had to go after Formas.

 

「 Wait, I think her name called Ryua. If what Mugen-san just said is true, we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves. We should cooperate here. 」

 

There were twenty of us, and I was surprised that there were only a few of us left. I could see once again how feared the Comet Wolf Brigade was as a group.



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